July 1, 2020

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Govs On Deck, Latest News

Govs On Deck – July 1, 2020

Hot-diggity-dog, it’s July! Welcome to today’s “Govs on Deck!”  We’re still here and we still hope you are all safe and healthy. As a reminder, this newsletter is now going out on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Questions or suggestions? Send me a note at amestoy@dga.net. You can find us all on Twitter too – @A_Tall_Turner@CEAmestoy@JerusalemDemsas, and @andersonkayjay

We want this to be helpful, so let me know what other info/what other formats you’d like to see for these updates.

Programming update: The DGA will be off on July 3rd (Friday) for the Independence Day weekend. This newsletter will return on Monday, the 6th. Happy 4th, everyone!

Dem Govs Get It Done:

NOTE: This is an overview of recent actions, not a comprehensive roundup of everything our incredible governors are doing. Want more examples? Send me an email and I can help you track down answers.

COVID-19 response:

Federal requests:

  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO called on President Trump to issue an executive order requiring all Americans to wear masks in public and to wear a mask himself.

Emergency declarations:

  • GUAM Gov. Lou Leon GUERRERO extending the public health emergency declaration to July 30th. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN extended her declaration of a state of emergency regarding COVID-19 for an additional 60 days, until September 4th.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO extended her disaster declaration through August 3rd. 

Reopening efforts:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended the Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors executive order.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS introduced more details around the state’s Protect Our Neighbors framework. This new phase in reopening will give local communities more freedom to provide economic opportunity while ensuring that they have the necessary public health capacity. The introduction of the new phase means that different parts of the state could be at different phases of reopening, based on local conditions and capabilities. 
  • NEVADA Gov. Steve SISOLAK announced that Nevada will remain in Phase 2 of the Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery plan through the end of July, due to the trends in COVID-19 infection rates, the time needed for expanded contact tracing to identify trends and to see the impacts of the governor’s new face-covering directive.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that the Capital Region has been cleared to enter Phase 4 of reopening starting today.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that Western New York has been cleared to enter Phase 4.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced the state has moved into Phase 3 of reopening. 

Public gatherings:

  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that under Phase 3, social gatherings can be no larger than 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors. Public events can be up to 125 people indoors or up to 250 people outdoors. Any organizers planning to host a group of more than 100 people will need to submit plans to Commerce RI.

Face-coverings:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced that she will sign an executive order requiring that most Kansans in a public space must wear a mask, beginning on Friday, July 3rd. 
  • OREGON Gov. Kate BROWN announced today that Oregonians statewide will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces, beginning today. The guidance applies to businesses, and members of the public visiting indoor public spaces. Face covering requirements are already mandated in eight counties.
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO extended her executive order requiring that face coverings must be worn in public—both indoors and outdoors—whenever six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.

Elections: 

  • DELAWAREGov. John CARNEY signed legislation that allows Delawareans to vote by mail in the 2020 primary, general and special elections. The bill makes voting by mail an alternative to in-person voting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and establishes procedures for voting by mail which mirror the procedures for absentee voting. Voting by mail does not replace in-person voting, which will be available for those not voting by absentee or mail ballot.

Business guidance:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS announced the closure of bars. Bars that have taken steps to open as restaurants may continue to operate in-person service, so long as they have patrons seated with their own party only in set seating, spaced six feet apart, and with no mingling. Bars are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages to-go for takeout or delivery consumption if the alcoholic beverages are sold with food. 
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued a modification to his state of emergency declaration, closing bars in eastern Sussex County to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Delaware’s beach communities. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY  signed an executive order temporarily pausing the resumption of indoor dining, which had been scheduled to resume later this week.  The order also prohibits the consumption of food or beverages and smoking in the indoor premises of any retail, recreational, or entertainment business, including casinos, where masks are strictly required.  
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced the state will decide today whether to slow down the reopening of indoor dining in New York City as part of Phase 3 of reopening.
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO announced that air conditioning filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value rating capable of filtering COVID-19 particles or similar air exchange measures will be mandatory for large mall reopenings.  
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that bar seating will remain prohibited in restaurants as the Commonwealth moves into Phase Three.

Schools/students:

  • CONNECTICUT’s State Department of Education today released “Adapt, Advance, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together,” a comprehensive plan that will serve as a roadmap for districts as they plan to reopen schools at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year. The release of the document follows the announcement last week of a framework to allow all students – in all districts statewide – the opportunity to have access to in-school, full-time instruction in the fall as long as public health data continues to support this model. 
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER released the MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap. The Roadmap outlines a number of safety protocols for schools to implement in each phase of the governor’s MI Safe Start Plan. The governor also signed an executive order which provides a structure to support all schools in Michigan as they plan for a return of PreK-12 education in the fall. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced a public-private partnership of philanthropic and business leaders from across Minnesota that aims to meet the technology and connectivity needs of families with school-aged children. Before the start of the upcoming school year, ConnectedMN’s goal is to bring technology and internet access to students across the state, especially communities most in need, including Indigenous students and students of color, students from low-income families, and families residing in rural Minnesota.

Health care:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM  issued an executive order waiving eligibility redeterminations for Californians who participate in Medi-Cal, to ensure they maintain their health coverage. 
  • NEW JERSEY’s Department of Health issued an executive directive exempting doulas from limits on support persons throughout a woman’s hospital stay during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO extended her executive order requiring that health insurers must cover telemedicine for primary care, specialty care, and mental and behavioral health care conducted over the phone or by videoconference.

Testing and tracing:

  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ announced the state has completed more than half a million COVID-19 tests and has reached the milestone of developing a daily capacity of 20,000 COVID-19 molecular tests. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO directed the State Department of Health to investigate reports of potential COVID-19 exposures associated with a religious service in Essex County.
  • NORTH CAROLINA’s Department of Health and Human Services announced all North Carolinians living and working in nursing homes will soon receive a one-time coronavirus test. 

Worker support:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he is authorizing the state to release $2 million from the Coronavirus Relief Funds to expand the Connecticut Youth Employment Program, an ongoing initiative that provides year-round employment opportunities with community-based agencies throughout the state. The expanded program will help community health agencies respond to the pandemic by providing critical support and education to marginalized populations that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. The investment comes from Connecticut’s portion of the federal CARES Act funding.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order allowing for continuing education classes for electricians and plumbers to be conducted online.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order allowing a temporary change to Kansas employment security law that waives the job search requirement to receive unemployment benefits. 
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced the state has hired Ernst & Young to help overcome years of funding and personnel cuts to the Office of Unemployment Insurance and begin immediately processing outstanding claims that resulted from the COVID-19 global pandemic.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order extending her previous order that requires owners and operators of employer-provided migrant housing licensed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide residents with the same safeguards businesses are required to provide workers under Executive Order 2020-97. This includes creating a COVID-19 response plan, providing Personal Protective Equipment, and following social distancing measures. 

Family support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM  issued an executive order suspending face-to-face visits for eligibility for foster care, and permit In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program caseworkers to continue caring for older adults and individuals with disabilities through video-conferencing assessments.
  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM  issued an executive order extending waivers temporarily broadening the capability of counties to enroll persons into the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, allowing for self-attestation of pregnancy and conditions of eligibility, and waiving in-person identification requirements.
  • KENTUCKY’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services announced that the deadline to apply for Pandemic-Electronic Benefits Transfer has been extended until the end of August. 
  • NEW MEXICO’s Human Services Department announced that New Mexico households receiving SNAP benefits will again receive the maximum amount for their household size for the month of July.

Homeowner/renter support:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM  issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 30th.
  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM announced Homekey, the next phase of COVID-19 response “Roomkey” to protect homeless Californians. Since the response’s launch, the effort has served an estimated 14,200 individuals in three months. The state and counties will spend upwards of $1 billion to purchase hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings, and tiny homes and provide services to the homeless.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS amended and extended an executive order ordering the temporary suspension of certain statutes concerning taxpayer filing requirements for certain taxable property due to COVID-19. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced a comprehensive plan to put more than $33 million in state and federal resources to work providing emergency assistance to renters, homeowners, and residential landlords impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Elements of this plan include a rental assistance program, an eviction prevention program, mortgage relief, rapid rehousing funds, a reentering, and rehousing assistance for those exiting incarceration. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order extending the residential eviction moratorium to August 25th and extending opportunities for residential renters to apply money from their security deposits to payment of rent.
  • DELAWARE Gov. John CARNEY issued a modification to his state of emergency declaration that addresses consumer protections for Delawareans who may face foreclosure or eviction filings.
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM launched the Virginia Rent and Mortgage Relief Program which will provide $50 million in federal CARES funding for households facing eviction or foreclosure due to COVID-19. RMRP will provide short-term financial assistance on behalf of households in the form of rent and mortgage payments.

Relief funds:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS discussed funding and support for local governments as Colorado looks to move into Protect Our Neighbors. In total, the state is investing $346 million in state and local capacity, with $75 million going directly from the state to Local Public Health Agencies. Gov. Polis also announced two new sources of available funding: a Planning Grant or Infrastructure Strengthening Grant. 
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order authorizing the Department of Social Services to distribute funding from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to other types of health care institutions in addition to nursing homes, which was previously authorized.
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced that the state will expedite a portion of Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars designated for local governments by the federal CARES Act. 
  • WASHINGTONGov. Jay INSLEE announced the state has distributed nearly $365 million in federal funds to help with COVID-19 response and relief efforts across Washington.The funding includes $100 million to provide rent assistance to low-income renters at risk of homelessness, $20 million to provide grants to help small businesses and local economic development organizations, $20 million to provide operating grants to support nonprofits working to address disparities and inequities exacerbated by increased need and decreased funding due to COVID-19, including a variety of community and youth development programs, and $20 million to assist Tribes with their pandemic recovery-related efforts

State budgets:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed the 2020 Budget Act – a $202.1 billion spending plan that strengthens emergency response, protects public health and safety, and promotes economic recovery while closing a $54.3 billion budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 recession.
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY announced her final plan for adjustments to the FY 2021 budget, which begins on July 1, 2020. The allotment plan totals a little more than $704 million and includes items that will require approval from the Legislature when they return in January. The largest portion of the plan proposes to delay the $132 million payment to the Pooled Money Investment Board for FY 2021 and requests an additional loan of $132 million, for a total of $264 million.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, and House Speaker Lee Chatfield announced a bipartisan budget agreement and called on Congress for additional resources to support essential services. The budget agreement includes modest reductions in current year funding but also provides CARES Act funding for Michigan schools and educators, universities and community colleges, and local governments to address the significant COVID 19 costs they’re facing.
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY  signed a three-month spending plan into law on Tuesday that includes a series of deep cuts and spending deferrals to help the state meet its most basic obligations through the extended fiscal year which ends September 30. New Jersey extended its fiscal year beyond the traditional closing date of June 30 in light of the extreme uncertainty caused by the global pandemic and the subsequent decision to extend state and federal tax filing deadlines to July 15 to help taxpayers weather the COVID-19 crisis.
  • NEW MEXICO Gov. Michelle Lujan GRISHAM authorized an amended Fiscal Year 2021 state budget, using her line-item veto authority to restore legislative cuts to public education and other areas while employing state reserves, spending reductions, and federal monies to patch a revenue shortfall caused by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inter-state travel:

  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT announced that eight additional states have been added to the regional travel advisory between CONNECTICUT, NEW JERSEY,and NEW YORK that went into effect last week. The advisory directs incoming travelers from states with a significant community spread of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for a 14-day period. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that Rhode Island will implement a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone coming to Rhode Island from any state with a five percent or greater positivity rate. 

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM  issued an executive order extending provisions in earlier orders which allow adults to obtain marriage licenses via videoconferencing rather than in-person during the pandemic. 
  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM  issued an executive order extending provisions allowing for mail-in renewals of driver’s licenses and identification cards, to limit in-person transactions at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and extends timeframes related to the payment of real estate license application and renewal fees and continuing education requirements for licensees.
  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS extended an executive order allowing food trucks to operate at Colorado’s rest areas to support truckers and the movement of commercial vehicle activities.
  • CONNECTICUT Gov. Ned LAMONT signed an executive order expanding the ability for state agencies to extend any statutory or regulatory deadlines for filings, decisions, and notice in the many permitting and other applications and administrative hearings under their purview, and requires agencies to post any changes on their respective websites. 
  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order reissuing a series of executive orders temporarily waiving or modifying regulations and requirements. 
  • NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil MURPHY signed an executive order temporarily extending certain statutory deadlines across state government that require review and action by agencies before a specified deadline. 
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that Hometown Strong, an effort created to forge partnerships between rural communities and state government, will expand its focus to help all 80 rural North Carolina counties respond to COVID-19 and strengthen local economies.

Beyond COVID-19 

Federal requests:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting a disaster designation for Michigan counties impacted by severe weather. The governor is also requesting the USDA make available any other possible assistance under the Federal Crop Insurance Program or other USDA programs to help Michigan’s hard-working farmers recover.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER sent a letter to the Small Business Administration requesting the agency declare an Administrative Declaration for Muskegon County, which experienced widespread flooding that caused damage to numerous homes last month.

2020 census:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY signed an executive order extending the term of the 2020 Kansas Complete Count Committee.

Equal Rights Amendment:

  • KANSAS Gov. Laura KELLY has signed onto an amicus brief along with 18 states and the District of Columbia urging the National Archives and Records Administration to recognize the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Anti-discimination efforts: 

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR issued an executive order to ensure that all Kentuckians are treated fairly by the state when it comes to matters of employment, services, and contracting in the commonwealth. The new executive order builds on previous protections by adding provisions to clearly cover gender expression; pregnancy or related medical conditions; and marital or familial status.
  • MAINE Gov. Janet MILLS announced today that she has appointed Reverend Kenneth I. Lewis, Jr., Senior Pastor at Green Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Portland, and Isaiah Reid of Kingfield, a student at University of Maine at Farmington, as her representatives to the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations. 
  • RHODE ISLAND Gov. Gina RAIMONDO announced that Rhode Islanders can now select a gender-neutral designation on their driver’s license. The new option will appear on driver’s licenses as an X.

Racial justice:

  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER signed an executive order to rename the state-owned Lewis Cass Building in downtown Lansing to the “Elliott-Larsen Building,” honoring the legislators who sponsored Michigan’s landmark civil rights act. This change marks the first time in Michigan history that a state building is named after an African-American woman. 

LGBTQ rights:

  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER issued a proclamation recognizing June 2020 as Pride Month in Illinois. 

Criminal justice:

  • COLORADO Gov. Jared POLIS signed a bill that allows him to mass-pardon Coloradans with minor marijuana possession convictions.
  • MICHIGAN Gov. Gretchen WHITMER proposed additional police reform policies to help strengthen police-community relations and ensure that all Michiganders are treated with dignity and respect under the law. The four-pronged plan, which was developed in partnership with community leaders and law enforcement organizations, will make significant reforms in policy, personnel, participation and community engagement, and prevention and accountability to address racial disparities in how law enforcement is applied toward communities of color.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER signed the First Step Act that allows judges to reduce the fine and sentence for defendants who have been convicted and sentenced for drug trafficking or conspiracy to commit drug trafficking since December 1st.

Mental health:

  • MONTANA Gov. Steve BULLOCK announced veterans’ suicide prevention efforts through grants established by the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.

Economic development:

  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Kentucky is moving ahead. Hemp processor Shyne Labs is committed to creating 60 full-time jobs for Kentuckians during the coming months with a new $9 million facility in Simpson County.
  • KENTUCKY Gov. Andy BESHEAR announced that Truck Equipment & Body Co. of Kentucky Inc. began a $2 million project renovating and equipping a facility in Stanton to establish a 43-job custom dump truck body and truck equipment manufacturing operation.
  • NORTH CAROLINA Gov. Roy COOPER announced that Centene Corporation, a Fortune 50 provider of managed care services for public and private health plans, will create an East Coast regional headquarters and technology hub in Charlotte. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM announced he is recommending more than $4.2 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grants for 17 projects in the Appalachian region of Virginia.
  • VIRGINIAGov. Ralph NORTHAM announced that The Hershey Company will invest $135 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Augusta County. 

Other efforts:

  • CALIFORNIA Gov. Gavin NEWSOM signed SB 350, which protects California by giving the state the authority to hold PG&E accountable if the company fails to adhere to public safety policies and to put safety, reliability and its customers at the center of its business model. 
  • ILLINOIS Gov. JB PRITZKER signed SB 516 into law, finalizing a gaming package that paves the way for a Chicago casino by reworking existing tax structures, allowing gaming at the State Fair and providing relief during the pandemic. 
  • MINNESOTA Gov. Tim WALZ signed an executive order which extends the tenure of the state’s Blue Ribbon Council on Information Technology through February 2021. The Council was established to serve as an advisory group to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor on the development and implementation of Minnesota’s information technology systems. 
  • NEW JERSEY TRANSIT has advanced its Positive Train Control program into the Extended Revenue Service Demonstration phase. The achievement follows the successful completion of the Federal Railroad Administration’s requirement to perform 384 error-free test runs in the demonstration area between Denville and Summit. 
  • NEW YORK Gov. Andrew CUOMO directed the New York State Police to establish a new temporary Fireworks Enforcement Detail to prevent illegal fireworks being brought to New York from Pennsylvania. 
  • VIRGINIA Gov. Ralph NORTHAM highlighted new laws that take effect today as Virginia begins a new fiscal year. New laws include commonsense gun safety measures, worker protections, improvements to voting accessibility, criminal justice reforms, and measures that advance the rights of women and the LGBTQ community. The governor also signed legislation that removes discriminatory and racist language from Virginia’s books and includes actions to fight climate change and dramatically boost Virginia’s renewable energy production.
  • WISCONSIN Gov. Tony EVERS announced $1.5 million in grants to local, state and tribal governments, regional planning commissions, universities, and nonprofit organizations through the Department of Administration’s Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. 

Stay safe everyone and wash your hands! See you on Monday!